Some people operate from faith, some from vision. Both are invaluable for tomorrow’s leaders and creators. Learn the distinction between faith and vision, and how you can leverage each.
Before exploring the distinctions between these two concepts, consider that what is meant by any word is determined largely by the context in which it is used. So, rather than assuming you know what is meant here by faith and vision, look closely to understand the context in which we’re using them.
One of the greatest sources of misunderstandings and disagreements is from making the mistake of assuming that because two people are using the same word, they are actually referring to the same thing. Sally can talk about love, for example, and be referring to an entirely different kind of love than the person who is listening to Sally. They think they are disagreeing about the same thing, when they are really referring to two different things.
Faith can be a tricky concept to talk about, because, like love, it is used in so many different ways. The same goes for vision.
For the visionary in training – or anyone truly wanting and willing to be a force for positive change – grasping this distinction at a deep level can swing open the gates to new pastures of inner freedom and inner power.
The term faith is used very broadly. It is worth distinguishing faith from vision and faith from blind faith. Today, we’ll focus on the former, while the latter will be discussed in a future session.
Reason – What you think.*
Vision – What you see (More specifically, what your mind sees when you “look” to the future.)*
Hope – The quality of focusing on the possibility of a desired future outcome that you lack confidence in due to reason and vision.
Trust – 1. The quality of having or placing confidence in a person or an outcome due to reason, vision or past experience. 2. The quality of choosing to have faith in a person.
Faith – The quality of placing confidence in a desired future outcome without regard for reason (what you think) or vision (what your mind “sees” when you “look” to the future).**
Blind Faith – 1. The quality of having confidence in a desired future outcome while consciously rejecting reason and vision. 2. The quality of placing confidence in someone or something outside of one’s self, while refusing to question or think for one’s self (and placing zero confidence in one’s own consciousness).
*Reason is often held to be the set of natural functions of a human mind – it’s thinking, in a very broad sense. Vision is one of these natural functions.
**Human beings derive confidence naturally from reason and vision. To choose to have confidence in something without reason or vision to back you up is faith.
Craig was a visionary entrepreneur with such a grand vision that people around him typically deferred to him. He seemed to be able to see so clearly what many people could not. And, indeed, he did see what they could not.
To those who could not see what he saw, he appeared daring and bold, often venturing into new and seemingly dangerous territory without hesitation. Some people attributed it to faith, assuming he must have greater faith that they had. Those who joined him on projects usually followed his lead, and often without question. When frightened, they simply hoped things would work out and often admonished each other to “have faith.”
Craig couldn’t understand why they couldn’t see what he could see, even when he tried to show them. Soon, he found himself telling people who couldn’t see what he saw to just have faith in him.
His visionary projects grew in size, and without vision, many people working with him often lost sight of the vision. They’d experience setbacks and failure and start to lose confidence. This increased tensions between Craig and many of the people he counted on. Soon, he began asserting more of an authoritarian demeanor, using fear to motivate people when they lacked confidence in him.
Over the months and years, Craig learned to cut people off, at the first sign that they did not trust him. His story became one of him against the world. He grew increasingly bitter, tired, frustrated and angry. As he formed more conclusions about people and the world, his vision grew less and less powerful. He could not see himself working powerfully with teams of people or accomplishing anything great that required a team effort.
Once a great young visionary, Craig devolved into more and more of a hardened positionary. After many lonely years, Craig found religion, and did his best to surrender his position and just trust in God. He became a man of faith. Using this strategy, he once again became a man who people trusted, a leader people were inspired to follow.
1 – Many people collapse vision with faith. When people see vision and thus feel confident, they often say they have faith. However, there is a distinction between having confidence in the face of the unknown with vision and choosing to have confidence in the face of the unknown without vision.
2 – Both vision and faith are powerful and useful. Whereas many people without vision can only resort to faith when confronted with the unknown, a skilled visionary can intentionally manifest a powerful vision. The man in the example did not have this skill.
3 – Vision can be a force multiplier for anyone’s faith. As a leader it is advantageous to be able to share your vision with others in a way that has them see it, so you need not rely on asking people to blindly trust you or have faith.
A skilled visionary heads boldly into the unknown and can easily inspire others to join him. Such a person can, even after failing time after time, inspire others to keep going forward. His vision and theirs only grows stronger over time.
The more you operate at the level of vision, the greater your faith becomes AND the less you need to rely on “having faith.”
Look to areas of your life where you have come to think you just need more faith in yourselves, others, humanity, etc. Consider that if you had a powerful vision in these areas, it would only multiply your confidence and your faith. Then do the work it takes to build that vision.
By John Benson